300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles Shares Special Playlist for Black Music Month
As part of Billboard’s Black Music Month celebration, we've asked Black artists spanning all genres and music industry executives to compile their own unique playlist exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. Each song they've chosen reflects their admiration for fellow artists -- from previous generations to the millennial era -- who have made an impact on the culture. Below, 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles shares his soundtrack.
"As a black music executive who has been in this industry for over 30 years, I have seen it all. Black music month, in my opinion, is every month. I have lived it," Liles tells Billboard. "First as an artist, then as a student, executive, and now as an entrepreneur running one of the biggest independent labels in the nation. Black music month should extend far beyond just the music -- it needs to exist in boardrooms. It needs to exist in the C-suite. The companies that are responsible for selling and marketing the music need to reflect the art that they are selling. With the current dominance of urban culture and our music being the number one genre globally, we not only have something to celebrate, but we have a responsibility to uphold in staffing our companies.
"I believe every great song -- across genres -- has been influenced by black music. Our history is rich with complex, soul-shattering, and profound soundscapes," he continues. "Our struggles have been documented in anthems by artists like Bob Marley, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder -- there is no shortage of visionaries to list. I am honored to be given the opportunity to work with new artists who carry on this tradition. I am inspired and learn every day from artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Tee Grizzley, Young Thug, Gunna, Trey Songz, and the rest of my musical family.
"Music has not always been just the soundtrack to my life, but it has also saved my life. In music, I find hope, inspiration, love, and spirituality. To me, it is as important as blood; I can’t live without it."
Liles, along with 300 Entertainment's Rayna Bass and Roger Gold, was recently featured in Billboard's third annual Indie Power Players list. Listen to his playlist -- that also includes Juice Crew's "The Symphony" and Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (both aren't available on Spotify) -- below.